April 23, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Jeffrey Brown Ferguson, assistant professor of black studies and American studies at Amherst College, will give the annual Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lecture, on “Satire in the Bedroom: George Schuyler’s Racial Transgressions,” on Tuesday, April 23, at 4:30 p.m. in the Alumni House at Amherst College. The talk, and a reception immediately following, are free and open to the public.

Ferguson’s talk will trace the unexpected turns in the life and thought of Schuyler (1895-1977), who was a card-carrying Socialist in his youth and went on to write an autobiography titled Black and Conservative (1966). His early satirical novel, Black No More (1931), asked what would happen if black Americans could choose not to be black. Schuyler, known as “the black Mencken” and praised by him as “perhaps the best of all the Aframerican journalists,” used his witty polemics to subvert conventional wisdom on race relations.

Ferguson, a scholar of American civilization, came to Amherst in 1996. He received a B.A. in Afro-American studies and sociology from Harvard University, where he also earned a Ph.D. in 1898, writing his thesis on “The Newest Negro: George Schuyler’s Intellectual Quest in the 1920s and Beyond.” Ferguson currently is working on a critical biography of Schuyler.

The Lazerowitz Lectureship is awarded each year to support and encourage members of the Amherst College faculty in their scholarly work. The Dean of the Faculty, in conjunction with the Lecture Committee, selects the recipient, a member of the faculty below the rank of a full professor, who presents a lecture on his or her research.

The Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lectureship was established in 1985 to honor the parents of the late Morris Lazerowitz, emeritus professor of philosophy at Smith College. Professor Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz, wife of the late Morris Lazerowitz and also emeritus professor of philosophy at Smith, attended the Lazerowitz Lecture each spring as an honored guest until her recent death in 2001.